Tag Archives: Fatah

Marwan Barghouti: Partner for Peace Negotiations or Terrorist?*

Demonstration in Judea and Samaria during the hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, led by Marwan Barghouti. Demonstrators waved yellow Fatah flags and held pictures of Marwan Barghouti. The Arabic reads, "The engineer of the intifada and the symbol of national unity" (Arabs48, May 16, 2017)
Demonstration in Judea and Samaria during the hunger strike of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, led by Marwan Barghouti. Demonstrators waved yellow Fatah flags and held pictures of Marwan Barghouti. The Arabic reads, "The engineer of the intifada and the symbol of national unity" (Arabs48, May 16, 2017)

This study examines the milestones in the life of Marwan Barghouti in an effort to reveal and analyzethe profound changes that occurred over the years within Fatah and in his positions regarding Israel. One of the issues examined was why Barghouti, who supported the Oslo Accords, was perceived as a peace activist and held talks with a broad spectrum of Israeli public figures, later became a terrorist operative (convicted of the premeditated murder of five people and of directing the second intifada). This study also tries to evaluate the degree of Marwan Barghouti's popularity within Fatah and Palestinian society, and his chances of becoming Mahmoud Abbas' successor. Another issue examined is whether Barghouti, even after having been convicted of terrorist activity during the second intifada, could be a partner in negotiations for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

Main Points

1.   Marwan Barghouti (Abu Qassam)was born in the village of Kobar (northwest of Ramallah) in 1959. He joined the ranks of Fatah in 1974, at the age of 15. When he was 19 he was detained by Israel for the first time and spent two years in prison for being an operative in a Fatah squad that had carried out a terrorist attack. He enrolled in BirZeit University in 1983. In 1986 he was detained and expelled to Jordan. He returned to Ramallah in 1994 after the Oslo Accords. He finished his BA with a degree in history and political science. He received an MA from BirZeit University in international relations in 1998.

2.   After Marwan Barghouti returned to Judea and Samaria he supported the Oslo Accords,believing that eventually Israel would withdraw from the territories occupied in 1967 and that a Palestinian state would be established. During that period he was in contact with a broad spectrum of public figures in Israel's left, center, and security establishment, who regarded him as an authentic Palestinian leader and a central partner for peace.

3.   In 2000 he headed the Tanzim(Fatah's ground operatives who spearheaded terrorist attacks against Israel during the second intifada). However, he lost the May 2000 Tanzim elections to Hussein al-Sheikh. He refused to cede the leadership because of a dispute over the election. Yasser Arafat, who wanted to encourage competition between the two, preferred not to tip the scales in favor of one or the other. Barghouti's power struggles and his frustration with the conduct of Arafat and the veteran Fatah figures who had returned from Tunis also played an important role in radicalizing his positions on Israel.

4.   Towards the end of the 1990s, and especially after the Camp David failure (July 2000), Barghouti jettisoned the expectations he had fostered after the Oslo Accords. He formed the concept that the only way the Palestinians could realize their rights was through armed struggle. Such a change in perspective made him extremely militant towards Israel when the second intifada broke out, and he became a key figure in fomenting and directing it until he was detained by Israel.

5.   Marwan Barghouti was detained by the IDF on April 15, 2002, during Operation Defensive Shield. On June 6, 2004, the Tel Aviv district court convicted him of the premeditated murder of five people in three shooting attacks carried out in 2001-2002. According to the verdict, he was directly involved in those attacks, and therefore sentenced to five consecutive terms of life imprisonment. He was also sentenced to 20 years in prison for his part in a suicide bombing attack that had been prevented.

6.   In addition to being convicted for murder, Marwan Barghouti was accused of heading a terrorist network that carried out attacks, including those in which he was not personally involved, for which he was sentenced to an additional 20 years. He was found guilty of aiding the terrorists who planned and carried out the attacks by providing them with money and weapons. According to the verdict, "he encouraged and influenced his operatives to continue carrying out lethal attacks; in every way possible, he supported the leaders of the terrorist squads who planned or carried out the attacks..."During the trial he represented himself as a peace-seeking political figure; the judges rejected the claim. During sentencing they determined that he was "up to his ears in terrorist activity" and that as far as he was concerned, the road to peace was paved with the blood of terrorism.

7.   Even after Barghouti's conviction and sentencing, there were public figures in Israel, mainly (but not exclusively) on the political left, who called for his release. They regarded him as a pragmatic Palestinian leader who would one day probably replace Mahmoud Abbas and be Israel's partner for peace. Some of the main arguments for releasing Barghouti are the following:

a.   Argument number one: Marwan Barghouti is not a terrorist but rather a pragmatic political leaderwho lost his way during the second intifada. His release will encourage the moderates in Palestinian society.

b.   Argument number two: Marwan Barghouti's political program is moderate, and is based on the solution of two states living side by side with the 1967 borders.      

c.   Argument number three: Marwan Barghouti is a strong figure.He will be able to lead the Palestinians to peace, despite his actions during the second intifada because you make peace, as the argument goes, with enemies, not friends.

d.   Argument number four: It is not worth Israel's while to keep Marwan Barghouti in prisonbecause he will probably win the Palestinian presidential election. Once he does, Israel will be subjected to extreme pressure to release himas the president-elect of Palestine, and the Israeli government is liable to be forced into releasing him.

8.   The findings of this study, as detailed below, contradict the aforementioned arguments:

a.   Marwan Barghouti is not a leader who went astray but rather a terrorist convicted by a court of law which determined he was "personally and genuinely involved in terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians," all of them carried out inside the Green Line. At the trial the court determined that he tried to represent himself as a "political figure," claiming he was opposed to killing innocent civilians. However, according to the court, his statements "contradict his actions, as they have been proved before this court"(from the sentencing of Marwan Barghouti, June 6, 2004).

b.   After the 1990s (and especially during 2000), Barghouti formed the extremist concept that the use of terrorism and violence was key to conducting the conflict with Israel. According to what he has said and done while in jail, he has not changed the concept and his days as a peace activist belong to history (the years immediately following the Oslo Accords). One of his most prominent talking points is that while negotiating with Israel, the Palestinians must also exert pressure on Israel through terrorism and violence(the so-called "resistance"). Moreover, according to Barghouti, any agreement with Israel must include the implementation of the so-called "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees to their former homes in Israel. Thus there is no way to define Barghouti as a peace activist or pragmatist. Rather, he is motivated by an extremist worldview which can only interfere with genuine Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

c.   Marwan Barghouti is not as powerful a figure as the supporters of his release claim.

1)  However, he is important and influential, leads public opinion polls and enjoys considerable popularity. In addition, he has a very good chance of being Mahmoud Abbas' successor(or of being elected to virtually any other senior political position). However, there is apparently a great discrepancy between his popularity and his genuine influence: as opposed to the era of the second intifada, he does not currently have an organized support network or a firm foothold on the groundto translate his popularity into practical achievements in the Palestinian street or inside and the Fatah movement (as seen by the many difficulties he faces in his extensive activities while in jail, as noted below).

2)  Barghouti has no significant influence on Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Even if he becomes the leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA), it is unlikely that PA will be able to enforce its authority on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

3)  Thus even if he is elected to succeed Mahmoud Abbas, in ITIC assessment it is very unlikely that his power in Fatah, foothold on the ground or status as compared with Hamas and the other terrorist organizations will enable him to lead the Palestinians to peace negotiations in which any Palestinian leadership will have to make controversial and difficult historic decisions.

d.   It is also argued that if Marwan Barghouti is chosen to succeed Mahmoud Abbas, Israel will receive requests and be under pressure from international agencies to release him. However, his terrorist record may make it easy for Israel to deny the requests: he was convicted on five counts of murder and played a key role in the second intifada (which caused the deaths of more than 1,000 Israelis, most of them civilians), both weapons in Israel's arsenal of reasons not to release him. In addition, his extremist political views and blatant support for continuing anti-Israel terrorism ("resistance") may help Israel resist pressure to release him.

9.   Marwan Barghouti's extremist concepts regarding the conflict with Israel, coupled with his problematic position within the Fatah movement and with the leaders of the Palestinian street, would seem to indicate that the expectations of those who regard him as a potential partner for a peace agreement, a kind of Palestinian Nelson Mandela, are somewhat exaggerated. Given his criminal terrorist record from the era of the second intifada and his extremist views on Israel, which he has continually voiced while in jail, there is every reason to assume that releasing him would not contribute to or promote peace negotiations. Rather, releasing him may undermine the negotiations' chances of success because he would raise extremist, unrealistic demands and encourage the continuation of the campaign of terrorism and violence against Israel. Thus in ITIC assessment, Marwan Barghouti is in no way a suitable partner for peace negotiations with Israel.

 

Sources

10.   This study is based on a variety of sources, which include information about Marwan Barghouti published in the Israeli, Palestinian and Western media; interviews with and statements made by Barghouti; results of investigations conducted into the activities of Barghouti and other terrorist operatives appearing in published legal documents and statements from expert witnesses and seized documents referred to in the documents dealing with his trial (which include verdicts, sentencing and documents published during his trial); documents seized by the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield (which shed light on Barghouti's modus operandi in terrorism during the second intifada); books, academic research and articles written about the second intifada and the era that preceded it.

Structure

11.   This study has three parts

a.   Part One – Marwan Barghouti's conduct in the internal Palestinian area and towards Israel

1)  Section 1: Profile of Marwan Barghouti

- Biography

- Milestones in the life of Marwan Barghouti

2)  Section 2: Marwan Barghouti's positions on Israel and his involvement in Fatah's internal power struggles (before the outbreak of the second intifada)

- Overview

- Support for the Oslo Accords and contacts with Israelis

- Radicalization during 2000

- Message of despair to Israeli interlocutors and hint of a threat

- Barghouti's internal struggle in Fatah (2000)

- Nakba Day events: a dress rehearsal for the second intifada (May 2000)

- Marwan Barghouti's actions at the outbreak of the second intifada (September 28-29, 2000)

- Conclusion: What led to the radicalization of Marwan Barghouti?

3)  Section 3: Detention, Trial and Conviction

b.   Part Two – Marwan Barghouti's involvement in terrorism during the second intifada

1)  Section 4: Felonies of which Marwan Barghouti was convicted

2)  Section 5: Terrorist attacks in which Marwan Barghouti was personally involved

- Shooting attack that killed the driver of a car on the Jerusalem-Ma'alehAdumim road (January 12, 2001)

- Shooting attack at the gas station near GivatZe'ev (January 15, 2002)

- Shooting attack at the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv (March 5, 2002)

- Attempted suicide bombing attack in the Malha shopping mall in Jerusalem (March 26, 2002)

3)  Section 6: Marwan Barghouti's modus operandi in directing Fatah's terrorist networks

4)  Section 7: Financial support as a means for handling terrorist squads

c.   Part Three – Imprisonment

1)  Section 8: Marwan Barghouti's activities in the internal Palestinian arena during imprisonment

- The campaign for his release

- Palestinian presidential election (January 2005)

- Palestinian Legislative Council elections (January 2006)

- Winning the Central Committee elections (2009, 2006)

- Leading figure in Palestinian public opinion polls

- Conclusion: What are Barghouti's chances of being Mahmoud Abbas' successor?

2)  Section 9:Barghouti's positions on Israel during his imprisonment

- Positions on Israel expressed in statements and interviews smuggled out of jail

- Involvement in the ceasefire (hudna) between the terrorist organizations and Israel (2003)

- The "prisoners' document" (May 2006)

- Marketing the "prisoners' document" to Israeli interlocutors

- Prisoners' hunger strike led by Marwan Barghouti (April-May 2017)

[*]The full version of this study can be accessed in Hebrew on the ITIC website and is currently being translated into English. 

Anti-Israel Incitement in the Palestinian Authority: An analysis of its roots and aspects*

Encouragement for stabbing attacks: a Fatah notice calling for Palestinians in Jerusalem to stab Israelis (Twitter account of Fatah's bureau of mobilization and organization, October 5, 2015).

Encouragement for stabbing attacks: a Fatah notice calling for Palestinians in Jerusalem to stab Israelis (Twitter account of Fatah's bureau of mobilization and organization, October 5, 2015).

Encouragement for throwing stones: the notice on the Fatah information commission's website reads,

Encouragement for throwing stones: the notice on the Fatah information commission's website reads, "We struggle for independence with the stones of our land" (December 27, 2015).

Encouragement for vehicular attacks: the Facebook page of the Shabiba movement (Fatah's student faction) at al-Najah University in Nablus. The post was uploaded on November 6, 2014, after a deadly vehicular attack in Jerusalem. The Arabic reads,

Encouragement for vehicular attacks: the Facebook page of the Shabiba movement (Fatah's student faction) at al-Najah University in Nablus. The post was uploaded on November 6, 2014, after a deadly vehicular attack in Jerusalem. The Arabic reads, "Resist, even with your car" (Facebook page of the Shabiba faction at al-Najah University, November 6, 2014). The previous day, November 5, 2014, a Palestinian terrorist carried out a vehicular attack in the Sheikh Jarrah of Jerusalem, killing one Israeli and wounding 13.

Demonization of Israel: Fatah cartoon accusing Israel and the United States of executing Palestinian children (website of the Fatah information commission, December 12, 2015).

Demonization of Israel: Fatah cartoon accusing Israel and the United States of executing Palestinian children (website of the Fatah information commission, December 12, 2015).

Demonization of Israel: accusing Israel of inflaming the Sunni-Shi'ite conflict (website of the Fatah information commission, October 19, 2016).

Demonization of Israel: accusing Israel of inflaming the Sunni-Shi'ite conflict (website of the Fatah information commission, October 19, 2016).

What Is Incitement?

1.      Incitement is generally defined as the deliberate provocation of unlawful, violent or criminal behavior. However, I would expand the definition to include inculcating a belief in an extremist ideology, concept or policy that is liable to cause people to commit violent or illegal acts.[1]

2.      There are various types of incitement: to violence, terrorism, hatred, anti-Semitism, etc. Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) practice incitement to terrorism and violence against Israelis and incitement to hatred of the State of Israel.

Inciting Terrorism and Violence as an Expression of the PA's Policy of Popular Terrorism (the So-Called "Popular Resistance")
3.      The term "incitement to terrorism and violence," when dealing with entities, organizations or countries, is, in my opinion, limited to symptoms. Incitement, as defined above, is not independent behavior but rather a function of ideology and/or policy. The root of the PA and Fatah's incitementto terrorism and violence against Israel is theirpolicy, and even world view. Thus before a discussion of incitement to terrorism and violence, we have to examine the policy and world view behind it.

 

4.      From its inception, the Fatah movement adopted the concept of "armed struggle" as its central strategic tool against Israel. Its terrorist attacks against Israel and incitement to terrorism and violence have been manifestations of the concept. Even after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, the official Palestinian establishment led by Yasser Arafat continued inciting acts of terrorism and violence, which increased dramatically with the second intifada.

5.      With the death of Arafat (2004) and the end of the second intifada (2005) there was a significant decrease in the extent of anti-Israel incitement and a change in its nature (alongside a decrease in the extent and change in nature of terrorist attacks). However, terrorism and incitement did not disappear with the end of the second intifada, they merely took a different form.

6.      Terrorism, violence and incitement, in their current forms, are an implementation on the ground of the political-strategic decision made eight years ago by the Sixth Fatah Conferencein August 2009, which adopted the strategy of "popular resistance" (i.e., popular terrorism). The strategy was reaffirmed by Mahmoud Abbas at the Seventh Fatah Conference held in Ramallah (November 29 – December 21, 2016), where it was decided to continue the "popular resistance."

7.      Mahmoud Abbas has consistently claimed the "popular resistance" is non-violent (muqawama silmiya).[2] However, developments on the ground since the Sixth Conference, and especially since October 2015, have shown that the term "non-violent popular resistance" is clearly a euphemism for a Fatah and PA policy supporting popular terrorism and violenceagainst Israeli civilians and members of the Israeli security forces. On the other hand, the PA opposes "military terrorism" and "an armed struggle," which are strategies preferred by Hamas(and which include suicide bombings and shooting attacks). Military-type terrorism and an armed struggle have not been rejected by Fatah in principle, but are regarded as tactics which do not serve the needs of the Palestinian people at the present time, and which are liable to strengthen Hamas in Judea and Samaria.

8.      Most of the popular terrorism attacks carried out during the past eight years have involved throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, which occur on a daily basis and can be lethal. Occasionally Palestinians carry out stabbing and vehicular attacks (knives and cars are considered "cold weapons" and therefore can "legitimately" be used as part of the "popular resistance"). At the same time, the PA's security forces maintain security coordination with the Israeli security forces to keep Hamas from gaining powerby preventing military-type terrorist attacks (which are liable to spin out of control and harm the PA).

9.      In addition to popular terrorism attacks Palestinians also carry out military-type attacks (mostly shooting attacks), which are not considered part of the "popular resistance." Generally speaking the PA does not condemn military-type attacks, even when Israelis are killed. In some instances the PA has condemned such attacks, but usually the condemnation is weak and intertwined with acts allegedly carried out by Israel and minimized in the Palestinian media.

10.   Popular terrorism (which is defined as "peaceful popular resistance") between August 2009 and September 14, 2015[3] took the lives of fifty Israelis. Between September 14, 2015 and today it has taken the lives of an additional fifty Israelis. Thus popular terrorism has cost the lives of 100 people, most of them civilians, since the Sixth Fatah Conference. It cannot be considered non-violent "popular resistance," it is popular terrorism waged against Israel in Judea and Samaria and inside Israel, supported by the PA and Fatah and accompanied by a determined international anti-Israel campaign.

Overview of Fatah and PA Support for Popular Terrorism

11.   The following have been the main manifestations of the PA and Fatah's support for the "popular resistance"since the beginning of the wave of popular terrorism (September 2015):

A.   Political and media support:

1)   The PA and Fatah do not condemn terrorist attacks against Israel, even those carried out within Israeli territory, including those that cause the deaths of civilians and those that cannot be included in "popular resistance." However, as opposed to Hamas, the PA does not openly and directly call for the killing of Israelis, at least not in the traditional media (newspapers, radio, TV). On the other hand, on the social networks Fatah incitement to terrorism and violence is sometimes more outspoken and direct.

2)   The Palestinian media, including the media affiliated with the PA, praise the terrorist attacks and those who carry them out, systematically claiming that Israel "executes" innocent Palestinians. The PA and Fatah customarily accuse Israel of responsibility for the deaths of terrorists who carry out attacks, completely ignoring the relationship between cause (terrorist attack) and effect (death of the Palestinian terrorist operative). The Palestinian media frequently serve as a platform for the false claims of the terrorists' families(for example, calling a vehicular attack a "traffic accident").

3)   Senior Fatah figures customarily give public praise to the "popular resistance," its violence and those who carry out terrorist attacks. Prominent among them are Sultan Abu al-Einein andJibril Rajoub. Fatah activists sometimes participate in demonstrations and violent clashes with the IDF. After the outbreak of the wave of popular terrorism, the Fatah media joined Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel in warning Muslims that "al-Aqsa mosque was in danger."

B.   Senior figures in the PA, Fatah and the Palestinian security forces participate in the funerals of terrorist operatives killed during popular terrorism attacks and visit their families. Some of the terrorists killed while carrying out attacks are given governmental military-style funerals (where the terrorist's body is carried on the shoulders of members of the security forces).

C.  Financial support for imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists and the families of shaheeds: according to data provided by the Palestinian ministry of finance, in 2016 the sum paid was 1,152 million Israeli shekels(about $325,423,728). That was 6.9% of the entire PA budget and 29.6% of the foreign aid received by the PA. The PA authorized the payments with a series of laws and governmental orders. In May 2014 the PA removed the payments from the ministry of prisoners affairs and transferred them to the PLO's commission for prisoners and detainees affairs. The objective was to mislead donor countries which complained their aid funds were being used to finance terrorism.[5]

D.  The shaheed cult:

1)   The PA and Fatah foster a cult of shaheeds from all the terrorist organizations who were killed during the decades of Palestinian terrorism. The shaheeds become role models and objects of veneration for Palestinian society, especially the youth.

2)   One very clear example of how a terrorist was turned into a cult figure is Dalal al-Mughrabi, a Fatah terrorist operative who in 1998 participated in the Coastal Road Massacre in which 35 Israelis were killed and 71 were wounded, 12 of them children. Since then she has become a national heroine and every year a memorial ceremony is held in her honor, attended by representatives of the PA and Fatah.[6]

3)   During the most recent wave of popular terrorism there have been many manifestations of solidary with the shaheeds and attacks (mainly stabbing attacks) carried out to avenge the deaths of shaheeds. The media affiliated the PA produce broadcasts and publish praise for shaheeds killed during attacks.

Summary
12.   Israel's demand that the PA end its incitement to violence and terrorism is legitimate and just, however it is minimal and deals only with the symptom and not the root of the problem. The core of the issue is the PA (and Fatah) policy supporting and encouraging popular terrorism (the so-called "popular resistance"). Popular terrorism creates continual friction and violence between Israel and the Palestinians making it difficult to restart the political process, and both sides pay the price in blood. It is doubtful whether the PA and Fatah will meet Israel's demand to put an end to terrorism and violence. However, Israel's determination to stop terrorism and violence may fall on willing ears within the international community at a time of global attacks carried out by Islamist jihadist terrorism.

 

Inciting Hatred

13.   As incitement to terrorism and violence is a result of ideology and policy, incitement to hatred is a function of the Palestinian ethos accompanying the Palestinian national movement, which has educated Palestinians for decades, including the current generation. Its main components are the "right of return" of the Palestinian refugees to their houses in Israel, refusal to recognize the Jewish people as a nation, denial of the connections and ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel, denial of the connections and ties between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, and the demonization of Israel. All of the above contribute to a culture of hatred for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and contradict Mahmoud Abbas' claim that the Palestinians educate their children on a "culture of peace".[7]

14.   Palestinian textbooksserve as an important tool for inculcating the younger generation with the Palestinian ethos.[8] To textbooks can be added informal education in schools.[9] The Palestinian media, both hard copy and digital, and even more so the social networks, foster the ethos and often pour oil on the fire of hatred for Israel. UNRWA, which runs schools in the refugee camps, is committed to using PA textbooks and thus educates the younger generation on an anti-Israel worldview. UNRWA's attempts to slightly moderate the contents of Palestinian textbooks are repeatedly undermined by Hamas and the PA ministry of education.[10]

15.   As a function of all of the above, the current generation of Palestinians has grown up not only on hostility towards Israel but exposed to constant violence and friction with the Israeli security forces in Judea and Samaria(at locations which serve as focal points for popular terrorism attacks). Thus it is no wonder that young Palestinians, some of them school children, have been prominent in the recent wave of popular terrorism, spontaneously carrying out attacks on their own. Beyond the personal reasons motivating each Palestinian who carries out an attack, I am of the opinion the young people who become terrorists have been greatly influenced by the education they receive, both formal and informal.From earliest childhood they are imbued with a narrative negating the right of the State of Israel to exist, and regard violence as the main component of Palestinian strategy.

In Conclusion
16.   Israel's just demand to end the PA's incitement to hatred relates to one of the symptoms of the deeply-rooted Palestinian ethos. Making significant changes in the ethos requires a drastic change in the perceptions of the Palestinian public and the emergence of a brave Palestinian leadershipthat will dare to swim against the current(for example, waiving the so-called "right of return" or being willing to recognize the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people). That is a fundamental condition for the success of any political process between Israel and the Palestinians, which has to be based, first and foremost, on mutual recognition of two peoples in the land of Israel, the Jewish people and the Palestinian people.

 

[*]This report is based on a lecture by Col. (Res.) Dr. Reuven Erlich, director of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center. It was delivered during public deliberations of the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the subject of "The policy of the Palestinian Authority regarding anti-Israel incitement," on m may 29, 2017. The deliberations were broadcast live by the Israeli Knesset TV channel.
[1]Oxford English and Merriam-Webster Dictionaries
[2]For example, in October 2015, at the height of the wave of Palestinian popular terrorism, Mahmoud Abbas said, "We don't use violence and force. We believe in peace and the popular resistance. It is our right and duty to continue, as long as there is aggression [from Israel]..."
[3]Between the Sixth Fatah Conference and the eve of the wave of popular terrorism.
[4]The Facebook posts of Jibril Rajoub was published at the height of the wave of Palestinian popular terrorism, which included vehicular, stabbing and shooting attacks, most of them carried out in Jerusalem.
[5]From a study done by Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, "A prize for terrorism, PA payments to the Palestinian terrorists and their families," published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2017 (Hebrew).
[6]See the March 23, 2017 bulletin, "Glorifying shaheeds who carried out deadly terrorist attacks and turning them into role models: Dalal al-Mughrabi, a Fatah terrorist who participated in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, as a case study."
[7]Mahmoud Abbas, at a press conference at the White House, claimed, "we educate our children, our descendants and our sons on a culture of peace. We are working to have them live in security, freedom and peace like the other children in the world, among them, children in Israel" (Wafa, May 3, 2017).
[8]Reports issued over the past ten years have repeatedly indicated that hostility toward Israel is ingrained in the Palestinian curriculum. The most recent report was issued by IMPACT-se (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education) of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which dealt with a study of textbooks and curriculums to promote peace and tolerance through education. The study was carried out by Dr. Eldad J. Pardo from the Hebrew University and entitled "Palestinian Elementary School Curriculum 2016-17: Radicalization and Revival of the PLO Program" (April 2017).
[9]The situation is worse in the Gaza Strip, where the educational system is controlled by Hamas. From kindergarten, the children undergo intense radical-Islamic, anti-Israel indoctrination. In the higher grades they also receive military training in preparation for their future membership in Hamas or other terrorist organizations.
[10]See the May 16, 2017 bulletin, "Hamas and the Palestinian Authority's ministry of education undermine UNRWA's intention to slightly moderate the curriculum used in its schools.'

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (April 20 – 25, 2017)*

Protests in Judea and Samaria held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Protests in Judea and Samaria held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Protests in Judea and Samaria held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Protests in Judea and Samaria held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Protests in Judea and Samaria held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Protests in Judea and Samaria held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Hamas-affiliated women demonstrate in front of the power plant in the Gaza Strip (YouTube, April 24, 2017).

Hamas-affiliated women demonstrate in front of the power plant in the Gaza Strip (YouTube, April 24, 2017).

Suhail al-Hindi (second from right) replaced by Amir al-Mes'hal (center) as head of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip, April 23, 2017)

Suhail al-Hindi (second from right) replaced by Amir al-Mes'hal (center) as head of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip (Facebook page of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip, April 23, 2017)

Palestinians clash with the Israeli security forces in a show of solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Palestinians clash with the Israeli security forces in a show of solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Husam Zomlot (third from right), PLO representative in Washington, receives members of the Palestinian delegation in his office: Sabri Sidam, Palestinian minister of education (second from left); Muhammad Mustafa (center with folded arms), chairman of the Palestinian Investment Fund; Azzam al-Shawwa (fourth from right), chairman of the Palestinian Currency Authority (Facebook page of Husam Zomlot, April 23, 2017).

Husam Zomlot (third from right), PLO representative in Washington, receives members of the Palestinian delegation in his office: Sabri Sidam, Palestinian minister of education (second from left); Muhammad Mustafa (center with folded arms), chairman of the Palestinian Investment Fund; Azzam al-Shawwa (fourth from right), chairman of the Palestinian Currency Authority (Facebook page of Husam Zomlot, April 23, 2017).

Hamas cartoon mocks Mahmoud Abbas for planning to exploit the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike for his own political needs during his visit to the United States on May 3, 2017 (al-Risalah, April 24, 2017).

Hamas cartoon mocks Mahmoud Abbas for planning to exploit the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike for his own political needs during his visit to the United States on May 3, 2017 (al-Risalah, April 24, 2017).

  •  This past week popular terrorism attacks continued. Prominent among them were a stabbing attack at the Qalandia crossing north of Jerusalem, a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv and an attempted stabbing attack south of Nablus. Demonstrations and riots continued throughout Judea and Samaria where Palestinians threw stones and Molotov cocktails. Most of the events were held in solidarity with the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The demonstrations were well attended and without exceptional incident. The border with the Gaza Strip was quiet.
  • Tension continues between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Mahmoud Abbas instituted economic measures to exert pressure on Hamas and weaken its control of the Gaza Strip. The electric company in Gaza said the power plant was almost completely inoperative because the financial support provided by Qatar had run out. As a result the plant now provides electricity in cycles of four hours followed by a 12-hour hiatus. A meeting of senior Hamas and Fatah figures held in the Gaza Strip ended in failure and with mutual accusations in the media.
Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Terrorists Attacks
  • April 25, 2017 – Attempted stabbing attack south of Nablus: A Palestinian armed with a knife went to the Hawwara Junction (south of Nablus) and ran towards IDF soldiers, trying to stab them. The soldiers initiated procedures for detaining a suspect, during which the terrorist was wounded and evacuated to a hospital for medical treatment. There were no casualties among the IDF forces.
  • April 24, 2017 – Stabbing attack at the Qalandia crossing: A Palestinian woman went to the Qalandia roadblock (north of Jerusalem) and waited for the security check. She approached a female soldier, claiming she wanted to ask a question. She then took a knife out of her purse, and stabbed and wounded the soldier. Israeli security forces at the scene overcame her. The Palestinian media reported the stabber was Asia Ka'baneh, 39 from the village of Duma near Nablus, mother of nine (Kilmati, April 24, 2017). During interrogation she said she had fought with her husband and wanted to end her life carrying out an attack (Israel Security Agency, April 24, 2017).

Left: The knife used in the stabbing attack (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 24, 2017). Right: Palestinian terrorist Asia Ka'baneh (Facebook page of QudsN, April 24, 2017).
Left: The knife used in the stabbing attack (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 24, 2017). Right: Palestinian terrorist Asia Ka'baneh (Facebook page of QudsN, April 24, 2017).

  • April 25, 2017 – Stabbing attack In Tel Aviv:
  • A young Palestinian used a sharp tool to stab three men and one woman in two hotels on the Tel Aviv promenade. The four sustained minor injuries. Police arrived at the scene and detained the stabber. Investigation revealed that he had a one-time permit to enter Israel. The permit had been granted at the request of an organization called Natural Peace Tours, which organizes trips and visits to Israel for Palestinians. After the attack the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories ordered a freeze on all permits to enter Israel obtained by Palestinians through institutions and organizations.
  • The Palestinian media reported the stabber was Imad Daghar al-Aghbar, 18, from Nablus (Twitter account of Palinfo, April 23, 2017). He studied mathematics at al-Najah University in Nablus (quds.press, April 23, 2017).

Left: From the security camera video documenting the stabbing attack in a hotel store in Tel Aviv (Facebook page of QudsN, April 24, 2017). Right: Imad Daghar al-Aghbar, the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack (nnpress.com, April 23, 2017).
Left: From the security camera video documenting the stabbing attack in a hotel store in Tel Aviv (Facebook page of QudsN, April 24, 2017). Right: Imad Daghar al-Aghbar, the Palestinian terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack (nnpress.com, April 23, 2017).

Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
  • In the meantime, demonstrations, clashes and riots continued throughout Judea and Samaria, mainly involving Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. Most of them were held for Palestinian Prisoners' Day and in support of the prisoners on hunger strikes in Israeli jails. The events were well-attended but there were no exceptional occurrences. The Israeli security forces detained suspected terrorists in Judea and Samaria and confiscated weapons. The more prominent incidents were the following:
  • April 24, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at the Gush Etzion Junction. Two soldiers, one male, one female, sustained minor injuries (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 24, 2017).
  • April 24, 2017 – A Palestinian about 30 years old drove his vehicle to the light railway station at the Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. He swerved out of his lane and drove onto the tracks. Police arrived on the scene and detained him, and he was taken for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 24, 2017).
  • April 24, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at a bus near Hizma (southeast of Ramallah). A civilian sustained minor injuries. The bus was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 24, 2017).
  • April 24, 2017 – An IDF force shot at two Palestinians throwing stones during a riot in the village of Malek in the Beit El region. One Palestinian was mortally wounded and the other was seriously wounded (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 24, 2017).
  • April 22, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli security forces in the Shuafat neighborhood of east Jerusalem. An Israeli policeman sustained minor injuries and was evacuated to a hospital for medical treatment (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 22, 2017).
  • April 22, 2017 – Palestinians clashed with settlers near Hawwara, south of Nablus. A Palestinian woman was injured. During the clash the settlers threw stones at Israeli security forces. An IDF officer sustained minor injuries (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 22, 2017).
  • April 22, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles near the gas station on route 443 (the Jerusalem-Modi'in road. There were no casualties (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 22, 2017).
  • April 22, 2017 – Palestinians set fire to tires near Israeli security forces in Kafr Qadoum (Samaria). In response the security forces fired rubber bullets. One Palestinian sustained minor injuries (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 22, 2017).
  • April 22, 2017 – Border Policemen detained two Palestinian minors from Dheisheh. The two went to a Border Police base in the Gush Etzion region carrying bags with Molotov cocktails. They were detained and taken for interrogation (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 22, 2017).
  • April 20, 2017 – The Israeli security forces detained a 20 year-old Palestinian at the junction between Yatta and Hebron. He was found to be carrying a knife, detained and taken for questioning (Facebook page of Red Alert, April 20, 2017).

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since September 2015

Detention of Operative Recruited by Hamas
  • In February 2017 the Israeli security forces detained Malek Nizar Yusuf Qizmar, born in 1994, from the region of Qalqilya. Interrogation revealed that he had recently lived in Turkish Cyprus. In 2015, while in Jordan, he was recruited by Hamas. In January 2016 Hamas sent him to a training camp in Syria, where among other things he learned how to manufacture IEDs and explosives. In January 2017, before he returned to Judea and Samaria, he met with Hamas operatives in Istanbul. They instructed him to recruit other operatives from Judea and Samaria. He received encrypted memory cards from his handlers which contained security instructions and information that would help him carry out his missions (Israel Security Agency, April 4, 2017).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • This past week no rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Attempted Smuggling of Explosives into Israel from the Gaza Strip
  • Security inspectors from the Israeli crossings authority at the Erez crossing found explosives used in the manufacture of IEDs inside tubes of medical material. They were found in the possession of two sisters from the Gaza Strip when they entered Israel April 20, 2017 so that one sister could receive treatment for cancer on. According to the results of the initial investigation, the explosives were apparently sent by Hamas for the purpose of carrying out terrorist attacks in Israel (Israel Security Agency, April 20, 2017).
The Electricity Crisis
  • Hamas-PA tensions continue in the wake of a series of economic measures implemented by Mahmoud Abbas, including cancelling the so-called "blue tax" exemption on fuel entering the Gaza Strip. The electric company in the Gaza Strip announced that its power plant was almost completely inoperative because the funding for fuel donated by Qatar had run out. As a result the plant now provides electricity in cycles of four hours followed by a 12-hour hiatus (the plant usually provides electricity in cycles of eight hours followed by an eight-hour hiatus).
  • Hamas used its media to spotlight the damage expected from the electricity crisis in order to exert pressure on the PA. The energy authority in the Gaza Strip accused the PA of responsibility for the present electricity crisis because it was unwilling to subsidize the so-called "blue tax" on the price of fuel used by the power plant. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, warned that because of the crisis in electricity, his ministry would be unable to provide the Gazans with services. He said the fuel that remained would be enough for his ministry for only three days (al-Ra'i, April 23, 2017). Senior Hamas figure Salah al-Bardawil said the real reason for the crisis was the Palestinian national consensus government, which had dealt severe blows to the electric company, such as charging the "blue tax" (al-Aqsa, April 21, 2017).
Meeting of Senior Fatah and Hamas Figures Is a Failure
  • On April 18, 2017, Fatah Central Committee members Ahmed Hilles and Rawhi Fattouh met with senior Hamas figures Khalil al-Haya, Fawzi Barhoum and Salah al-Bardawil. The meeting was held in the Gaza Strip and was an attempt to settle their differences; however, it failed to ease the tension between Hamas and the PA. The Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip said in an official statement that the administrative committee, established by Hamas to deal with the affairs of the Gaza Strip, had been appointed because of the failure of the Palestinian national consensus government, and it was not a replacement for it (alresalah.net, April 20, 2017). Senior Hamas figure Ismail Radwan said the Fatah delegation had not offered Hamas any suggestions (Dunia al-Watan, April 23, 2017). Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum also said that so far Fatah had not offered solutions for easing the suffering of the Gazans (Hamas website, April 23, 2017).
  • Other statements included:
  • Salah al-Bardawil, a member of Hamas' political bureau, accused Mahmoud Abbas of deliberately hurting the Gaza Strip by cutting budgets. He said Fatah had not yet formulated its conditions for resolving the crisis. However, he said, if the national consensus government fulfilled its role in the Gaza Strip, Hamas would dissolve the governmental committee it had established to administer the Gaza Strip (al-Sharq al-Awsat, April 20, 2017).
  • Mahmoud al-Zahar, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said cutting salaries would not keep Hamas from operating above ground or below ground. He claimed Hamas would continue to work for the liberation of the Palestinian territories and al-Aqsa mosque. He added that Hamas' military wing would continue its military activities through the tunnels (Safa, April 23, 2017).
Chairman of UNRWA Staff Union Resigns
  • On April 22, 2017, Suhail al-Hindi, chairman of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip and principal of an UNRWA boys' elementary school, announced he was resigning and taking early retirement. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness also said in a statement that Suhail al-Hindi was no longer employed by the agency. Al-Hindi was forced to resign after the media and political reactions to his election to Hamas new political bureau in the Gaza Strip, which violated UNRWA's position that its employees could not belong to Hamas or any other organization. So far it is unclear if al-Hindi also resigned as principal of the UNRWA boys' elementary school.[4]
Hamas Political Document To Be Published
  • Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas' political bureau, said in an interview that in two weeks Hamas' new political document would be published, at which time he would step down. He claimed Hamas was prepared to recognize the 1967 borders but would not recognize the State of Israel before the establishment of a Palestinian state. He added that the right to decide the question of recognition of Israel was reserved for the Palestinian people (al-Hayat, April 23, 2017). "An exclusive Hamas source" reported that the Hamas leadership in Qatar would officially publish the movement's political document on April 30, 2017. According to the source, the document would define Hamas' identity, objectives, external and internal relations, its position on the liberation of Palestine and various political positions (Shehab, April 21, 2017).
Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike
  • The hunger strike begun by approximately 1,200 Palestinian prisoners on April 18, 2017, continues. Issa Qaraqe, chairman of the authority for prisoners' affairs, denied a report that 88 prisoners stopped striking (Wafa, April 23, 2017).
  • Beyond the prison walls activities continue in support of the prisoners, including rallies, marches, the erection of protest tents and demonstrations attended by senior Palestinian figures. The activities are held in many locations in Judea and Samaria and attract a relatively large following. In some instances Palestinians have rioted against the Israeli security forces, but no exceptional incidents were reported. The Fatah movement called on all the districts in Judea and Samaria to join in supporting the prisoners and to form a united front standing behind the prisoners' demands. In addition, a general strike was called for April 27,2017, and a so-called "day of rage" for April 28, 2017, when confrontations would be held at all the friction points between the Palestinians and Israel (Ma'an, April 22, 2017).

The Fatah announcement published in Judea and Samaria calling for a "day of rage" on April 28, 2017, with confrontations at the friction points (official Fatah Facebook page, April 23, 2017)
The Fatah announcement published in Judea and Samaria calling for a "day of rage" on April 28, 2017, with confrontations at the friction points (official Fatah Facebook page, April 23, 2017)

  • In the meantime, senior PA figures are trying to receive international support for the prisoners' hunger strike. Ibrahim Kharisha, PA representative in Geneva and UN agencies, called for a meeting of representatives of the Red Cross, the UN High Commission of Human Rights and the chairman of the UN Human Rights Council to discuss the issue of the hunger-striking prisoners (Facebook page of the Voice of Palestine, April 23, 2017). Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh called on Palestinians living abroad and on Arabs to act quickly at every level to help the prisoners win the struggle for their rights and respect. He also called for protest rallies and mass marches in various locations around the globe (Wafa, April 20, 2017).
Preparations for Mahmoud Abbas' Visit to the United States Continue
  • Preparations continue for Mahmoud Abbas' visit to the United States, expected to be held at the beginning of May 2017. On April 23, 2017, a PA delegation left for Washington, DC, to prepare and coordinate the visit with the American side. The members of the delegation included Saeb Erekat, secretary of the PLO's Executive Committee; Majed Faraj, head of Palestinian general intelligence; Muhammad Mustafa, chairman of the Palestinian Investment Fund and currently general advisor to Mahmoud Abbas; Sabri Sidam, Palestinian minister of education; and others (Ma'an and the Facebook page of Husam Zomlot, April 23, 2017). According to Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian national consensus government, in preparation for the visit the delegation will meet with senior figures in the American State Department, the White House and the National Security Council. The delegation will return on April 27, 2017 to present Mahmoud Abbas with a report that will help him prepare for the visit (Dunia al-Watan, April 23, 2017).
  • According to Riyad al-Maliki, Mahmoud Abbas is expected to meet with Donald Trump to discuss several matters, among them the two-state solution; the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state; and the Arab peace initiative. Regarding Jerusalem, its status will be discussed, as will the [alleged] damage done to al-Aqsa mosque by Israel and the issue of relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem. Among the issues also to be discussed are the prisoners, the settlements and administrative detentions. (Voice of Palestine radio, April 20, 2017).

[*]Next Tuesday, May 2, 2017, is Israel's Independence Day and News of Terrorist and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict will not be issued.
[2] A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicle, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[3] The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
[4] For further information the April 24, 2017 bulletin, "Resignation of Suhail al-Hindi, chairman of the UNRWA staff union in the Gaza Strip, after exposure of his election to Hamas' new Gazan political bureau." 

Glorifying shaheeds who carried out deadly terrorist attacks and turning them into role models: Dalal al-Mughrabi, a Fatah terrorist who participated in the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, as a case study

Left: Dr. Layla Ghanem, Palestinian Authority governor of the Ramallah district, gives a speech at a memorial ceremony for Dalal al-Mughrabi held in Ramallah on the 39th anniversary of the Coastal Road Massacre. The picture at the left is of Dalal al-Mughrabi (Facebook page of Dr. Layla Ghanem, March 11, 2017) Right: The logo of the Dalal al-Mughrabi boys' and girls' governmental elementary school in Bayt Awa, west of Hebron. The logo features a picture of Dalal al-Mughrabi superimposed on a map of Palestine.
Left: Dr. Layla Ghanem, Palestinian Authority governor of the Ramallah district, gives a speech at a memorial ceremony for Dalal al-Mughrabi held in Ramallah on the 39th anniversary of the Coastal Road Massacre. The picture at the left is of Dalal al-Mughrabi (Facebook page of Dr. Layla Ghanem, March 11, 2017) Right: The logo of the Dalal al-Mughrabi boys' and girls' governmental elementary school in Bayt Awa, west of Hebron. The logo features a picture of Dalal al-Mughrabi superimposed on a map of Palestine.

Overview

1.   Dalal al-Mughrabi was a Fatah terrorist operative who participated in the March 11, 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, which killed 35 Israelis, 12 of them children, and wounded 71. Since then she has become a national Palestinian heroine and a symbol of the armed Palestinian struggle against IsraelThe Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Fatah movement systematically glorify her ("the bride of Palestine"), inflate the importance of the attack ("a heroic victory"), and commemorate her in various ways. Significant effort goes into inculcating her narrative among Palestinian youth. Schools are named for her, as are summer camps, training camps and sporting events. In addition, streets and town squares are also named for her, including a square in Ramallah. Glorifying her (part of the extensive glorification of terrorist operatives of all the organizations[1]has turned her into a role model and provides justification for acts of anti-Israeli terrorism.

 

2.   One aspect of fostering Dalal al-Mughrabi's murderous legacy is the annual memorial ceremony held on or about March 11, the date of the Coastal Road Massacre. The ceremonies are attended by senior Fatah and PA figures. The main ceremony is traditionally held in Ramallah, while other events are held throughout Judea and Samaria. This year as well, on March 11, 2017, a ceremony was held in Ramallah (see Appendix A). Events are also held for her birthday. At those events speeches are given praising her and Coastal Road Massacre, and they are given extensive coverage in the Palestinian media.

3.   Four appendices follow:

a.   Appendix A– Events commemorating Dalal al-Mughrabi in 2017

b.   Appendix B– Commemorating Dalal al-Mughrabi in previous years (2009 – 2016.

c.   Appendix C– Commemorating Dalal al-Mughrabi among adolescents, students and school children.

d.   Appendix D– The Coastal Road Massacre.

[1]Hamas also aspires to glorify Dalal al-Mughrabi, despite her affiliation with Fatah. On the other hand, the PA glorifies shaheeds from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. For example, a street in Ramallah was named for Yahya Ayash, a senior Hamas terrorist operative, who was responsible for a series of suicide bombing attacks in Israeli cities, carried out to sabotage the Oslo Accords.

News of Terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (March 8 – 14, 2017)

Stabbing attack at the Lion Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Stabbing attack at the Lion Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The knife used in the attack (Twitter account of Palinfo, March 13, 2017).

The knife used in the attack (Twitter account of Palinfo, March 13, 2017).

Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar, who carried out the stabbing attack (Facebook page of QudsN, March 13, 2017).

Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar, who carried out the stabbing attack (Facebook page of QudsN, March 13, 2017).

Israeli vehicle damaged by a stone thrown near Yitzhar, southeast of Nablus (Facebook page of Shehab, March 9, 2017).

Israeli vehicle damaged by a stone thrown near Yitzhar, southeast of Nablus (Facebook page of Shehab, March 9, 2017).

Yusuf Yasser Suaylam from Qalqilya, recruited to Hezbollah (alqabas.com, March 9, 2017).

Yusuf Yasser Suaylam from Qalqilya, recruited to Hezbollah (alqabas.com, March 9, 2017).

The Palestinian security forces attack media correspondents covering a riot in Ramallah (Facebook page of mukaber.net, March 12, 2017).

The Palestinian security forces attack media correspondents covering a riot in Ramallah (Facebook page of mukaber.net, March 12, 2017).

  • nPopular terrorism continues in Judea and Samaria, with a stabbing attack at the Lion Gate in the Old City in east Jerusalem. Two Border Policemen were wounded. The Palestinian attacker was from Jabal Mukaber, an east Jerusalem neighborhood from which many Palestinian terrorist operatives have come. In a separate incident, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli in an attack that took place near a roadblock south of Bethlehem. The motive for the attack is so far unclear.
  • nOn March 10, 2017, Mahmoud Abbas spoke on the phone with Donald Trump, the first conversation since Trump entered the White House. A spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas said Trump had invited Abbas to the White House to discuss ways to renew the peace process. According to Mahmoud Abbas, they discussed their mutual commitment to the peace process and the two-state solution.
  • nFollowing the revelation that two senior UNRWA employees were elected to the new Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, Israel appealed to the United States and other countries that contribute funds to UNRWA. In response the chairman of the department for refugee affairs in Hamas threatened crises would occur if support for UNRWA were affected. He claimed it was the "right" of every Palestinian who worked for UNRWA to "engage in political activity" [i.e., to belong to Hamas]. 

 

Terrorist Attacks and Attempted Terrorists Attacks
  • On March 13, 2017, a Palestinian carried out a stabbing attack at the Lion Gate in east Jerusalem:
  • Before dawn a Palestinian terrorist entered a Border Police booth at the Lion Gate in east Jerusalem, took out a knife and stabbed two policemen manning the location, wounding them. One of the wounded policemen drew his gun and shot and killed the terrorist. The wounded men were evacuated to a hospital (Israel Police Force spokesman's unit, March 13, 2017).
  • The Palestinian terrorist who carried out the attack was Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar, 25, from Jabal Mukaber in east Jerusalem, a neighborhood from which many terrorist attackers have come. Ibrahim Mahmoud Matar worked in his father's metal workshop and customarily prayed at al-Aqsa mosque (Facebook page of mukaber.net, March 13, 2017).
  • Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua praised the attack, calling it a "natural response" to Israel's crimes. He claimed the attack proved the so-called "Jerusalem intifada" continued and that no one could stop it (quds.net, March 13, 2017).
  • On March 7, 2017, a Palestinian carried out a stabbing attack at a roadblock south of Bethlehem. An Israeli from Beitar Illit took his car to be serviced at a garage near the village of Walaja, southwest of Jerusalem. He then agreed to give a ride to a Palestinian who asked him for one. When the car approached the roadblock the Palestinian stabbed him and fled the scene. So far the motive and circumstances are unclear.
Riots, Clashes and Popular Terrorism
  • In the meantime, demonstrations, clashes and riots continue throughout Judea and Samaria, mostly involving the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli security forces carried out a series of detentions of suspects in Judea and Samaria. The more prominent incidents were the following:
  • March 12, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at Israeli vehicles on the roads in the Gush Etzion region. There were no casualties; the vehicles were damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 12, 2017).
  • March 11, 2017 – IDF forces detained a Palestinian armed with a knife. He was taken for interrogation after he admitted his intention to carry out a stabbing attack in the Jewish community in Hebron (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 11, 2017).
  • March 11, 2017 – The Israeli security forces shot and wounded a Palestinian throwing stones in the village of Silwad near Ramallah (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 11, 2017).
  • March 9, 2017 – Palestinians threw stones at a vehicle on the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem road near the Efrat Junction. There were no casualties; the vehicle was damaged (Facebook page of Red Alert, March 9, 2017).
Israel Security Agency Terrorist Attack Statistics, February 2017
  • According to statistics issued by the Israel Security Agency, in February 2017 the scope of terrorist attacks was similar to that of January 2017. Ninety-seven attacks were carried out: 82 in Judea and Samaria (the same number as January 2017), 14 in Jerusalem (16 in January), and one inside Israel (Petah Tikva). Most of the attacks (86 of 97) involved Molotov cocktails, 12 of them in Jerusalem. There were eight attacks involving IEDs, two shooting attacks (one inside Israeli territory) and one vehicular attack. Fourteen Israelis were injured, nine of them civilians (seven in the attack in Petah Tikva) and five members of the Israeli security forces (Note: the number of attacks does not include the dozens of instances of stone-throwing).

Significant Terrorist Attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem since September 2015

Weapons Network Exposed in Nablus Region
  • The Israeli security forces exposed a network in the Nablus region that dealt with manufacturing and selling weapons. The exposure was the result of information received from the customs authority about a large number of packages containing weapons parts ordered on the Internet around the globe and sent to Nablus. The information led to a network which used the parts to manufacture weapons. Detentions were carried out and four weapons and hundreds of parts for manufacturing weapons were confiscated. A bridal boutique managed by one of the suspects was also used as an address where packages had been sent (Website of the Israeli customs authority, March 9, 2017).
Hamas Terrorist Activity Exposed in Judea and Samaria
  • During the past month the Israeli security forces detained a number of Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria involved in terrorist attacks and planning to carry out more attacks (Israel Security Agency, March 12, 2017):
  • A squad of Hamas terrorist operatives was exposed in the village of Bidu (northwest of Jerusalem). The terrorists had placed IEDs and thrown Molotov cocktails at IDF forces. They had also been involved in shooting at the community of Har Adar (northwest of Jerusalem) in 2015. They were planning to carry out more shooting attacks.
  • Muhammad Ghazi, 20, was detained in Samaria. He was a Hamas operative and lived in the village of Jama'in. During interrogation he confessed to planning, with another terrorist from Hebron who was also detained, to shoot at an Israeli vehicle. In preparation for the attack they carried out surveillance along the road. They manufactured sharp devices made of metal to strew on the road to slow the passage of cars and make it easier to shoot at the drivers. They were also suspected of having purchased a gun for the attack. They confessed they were planning to attack Israeli vehicles and IDF forces (Israel Security Agency, March 12, 2017).
  • A number of students from Bir Zeit University were detained, operatives in a Hamas student organization. They were involved in activities to establish Hamas at the university. To that end they organized rallies and recruited activists. Their activities were funded by Hamas.
Detention of Hezbollah Recruit from Qalqilya
  • The Israeli security forces recently detained Yusuf Yasser Suaylam, 23, from Qalqilya, a metalworker. Interrogation revealed that he had been recruited to the ranks of Hezbollah on the organization's Facebook page used to enlist recruits. Hezbollah instructed him to carry out various missions, including taking photographs and collecting information about IDF bases, roadblocks and various locations in east Jerusalem. He was also instructed to set up a terrorist squad to abduct an Israeli and transfer him to Lebanon (Israel Security Agency website, March 9, 2017).
Rocket Fire Attacking Israel
  • On March 9, 2017, a rocket was fired at Israel from the area of Khan Yunis. It fell inside the Gaza Strip. A network calling itself "the Fatah intifada" (founded by defectors from Fatah) used its Facebook page to claim its military wing had fired two rockets at the western Negev and that Israel denied the rockets had landed in its territory. According to the statement, in the coming days the organization would escalate its attacks on Israel (Gaza al-A'an, March 9, 2017). It was the first time since Operation Protective Edge that any group affiliating itself with Fatah had fired a rocket at Israel.
  • On March 13, 2017, a "red alert" was sounded in the western Negev. Shortly thereafter it was reported that no rocket hit had been identified in Israeli territory. A network calling itself the Descendants of the Prophet Tweeted its claim of responsibility for the rocket fire.

Rocket Fire Attacking Israel

Rafah Crossing
  • On March 9, 2017, the Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing after opening it for three days. According to the crossings and border authority in the Gaza Strip, during the days it was open 2,058 people left the Gaza Strip and 1,961 entered. In addition, merchandise was imported, including concrete, iron, tar, paint, food, medicine, generators, concrete mixers and water pumps (Palinfo, March 9, 2017). Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar claimed that relations with Egypt continued to improve. That was manifested, he claimed, by the opening of the Rafah crossing and an attempt to improve the economic conditions in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas Warns of Consequences If UNRWA Funding Is Hurt
  • According to the Hamas media, during his visit to Washington, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman requested Secretary of State Rex Tillerson examine stopping funding for UNRWA and America's cooperation with the agency. He made the request in view of the fact that Hamas activists held senior positions in UNRWA.[2]
  • In response, Issam Adwan, chairman of Hamas' department for refugee affairs, warned of the consequences of negative actions taken against the support for UNRWA. He claimed the United States and the international community had to understand that any harm done to support for UNRWA would cause millions of refugees to demand their rights, creating new regional crises. He said UNRWA operated under a mandate from the UN and not the United States or Israel. He called on UNRWA not to surrender to pressure and to continue its humanitarian work. He also claimed it was the right of every Palestinian who worked for UNRWA to engage in "political activity."
  • The Palestinian cause, claimed Issam Adwan, demanded that Palestinians from every strata of society invest effort, and "it is unthinkable that a Palestinian would give up his struggle for a place of employment." He claimed Hamas had no plan to infiltrate the international institutions operating in the Palestinian territories. He added that UNRWA could only fire employees affiliated with Hamas by classifying them "on the basis of discrimination" [sic], which could not be implemented (alresala.net, March 9, 2017).
Demonstration Protesting the "Siege" of the Gaza Strip
  • A group calling itself the National Organization for Breaking the Siege on the Gaza Strip held a protest rally. Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said there were signs on the horizon that there would be "an explosion in the face of the occupation" if the ten-year siege of the Gaza Strip were not lifted. He also claimed Israel was responsible for the deaths of sick Palestinians by preventing them from passing through the crossings. He demanded that Israel establish an airfield in the Gaza Strip, renovate the sea port and open the crossings (al-Aqsa, March 13, 2017).
The New Hamas Fundamental Political Document
  • Hamas-affiliated Ibrahim al-Mahoun wrote an article stating that the new document of Hamas' fundamental principles would be published in the near future. It defined, he claimed, Hamas' principles but at the same time had been adapted to political developments. However, he made it clear that Hamas would not "cross red lines," such as recognizing Israel, abandoning the armed "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] or waiving the rights to any of the land of Palestine (majal.press, March 7, 2017).
The Trump-Mahmoud Abbas Phone Call
  • On March 10, 2017, Donald Trump spoke to Mahmoud Abbas on the phone. It was their first phone conversation since Donald Trump entered the White House. Palestinian sources reported that the conversation had been friendly and important, and that Trump had been "very impressed" by Mahmoud Abbas, whom he regarded as a reliable partner (al-Quds, March 11, 2017). According to Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina, Trump invited Mahmoud Abbas to the White House to discuss ways to renew the political process. Trump noted his commitment to a genuine peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Mahmoud Abbas claimed he adhered to peace as the strategic way to establish a Palestinian state, side-by-side with Israel (Ma'an, March 10, 2017).
  • According to Mahmoud Abbas, he and Trump discussed their commitment to the peace process and the two-state solution. Mahmoud Abbas claimed he opposed extremism and terrorism, which contradicted the religious and national principles of the Palestinians. He added that the PA would continue to cooperate with the United States to reach a peace that would ensure security, and that without a just resolution of the Palestinian issue there would never be peace, security or stability (Ma'an, March 12, 2017).
  • However, Salah al-Bardawil, a member of Hamas' political bureau, criticized the conversation between Mahmoud Abbas and Donald Trump. He said he found it difficult to believe the conversation was good for Palestine. He called on Mahmoud Abbas not to pursue the fantasies of Trump and the Israeli prime minister and to return to the line of Palestinian unity. He also warned of Mahmoud Abbas' going to the United States, because if he did he would be doing it on his own initiative against the Palestinian consensus (quds.press, March 12, 2017).

Left: Cartoon appearing in official Hamas organ mocking Mahmoud Abbas' phone conversation with Donald Trump, who takes orders from Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (alresala.net, March 13, 2017). Right: Cartoon by Khalil Abu Urfeh, from east Jerusalem, about what the new American president still has to learn about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Arabic reads, "First year in office" (Facebook page of Khalil Abu Urfeh, March 11, 2017).
Left: Cartoon appearing in official Hamas organ mocking Mahmoud Abbas' phone conversation with Donald Trump, who takes orders from Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (alresala.net, March 13, 2017). Right: Cartoon by Khalil Abu Urfeh, from east Jerusalem, about what the new American president still has to learn about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Arabic reads, "First year in office" (Facebook page of Khalil Abu Urfeh, March 11, 2017).

  • Mahmoud Abbas appointed Dr. Husam Zomlot to head the PLO legation in the United States. Since May 2016 he has been Mahmoud Abbas' strategic advisor. He has a PhD in economics from London University and broad experience in politics and diplomacy. Between 2003 and 2009 he worked at the PA legation in London. He was elected to Fatah's Revolutionary Council at the 7th Fatah conference in Ramallah and recently visited the United States with a PA delegation and met with members of the Congress (Ma'an, March 7, 2017). He will replace Ma'an Erekat, who held the post in recent years. Dr. Zomlot seems to have impressive personal qualifications. Mahmoud Abbas may have appointed him with an eye to improving relations with the new American administration.

Left: Swearing-in of Dr. Husam Zomlot as PLO representative in the United States (Facebook page of Dr. Husam Zomlot, March 7, 2017). Right: Dr. Husam Zomlot (Facebook page of Dr. Husam Zomlot, September 29, 2016).
Left: Swearing-in of Dr. Husam Zomlot as PLO representative in the United States (Facebook page of Dr. Husam Zomlot, March 7, 2017). Right: Dr. Husam Zomlot (Facebook page of Dr. Husam Zomlot, September 29, 2016).

Reactions to Passing of the Preliminary Reading of the "Muezzin Law" by the Israeli Knesset
  • The proposed "Muezzin law" to restrict the hours of the use of public address systems on mosques and impose fines on those who break the law passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset on March 8, 2017. That led to a wave of angry reactions from Palestinians who represented it as violating freedom of worship. The PA's information ministry called for an Arab-Muslim campaign against the passage of the law. The ministry urged Islamic states to set aside March 30 for a joint effort to expose the "racist Israeli occupation and its efforts to ignite a religious war" (Wafa, March 9, 2017). The Endowments Council in the PA issued a notice condemning the "occupation's racist muezzin law." It called on the residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding area to install amplifiers on their roofs to broadcast the calls of the muezzin (al-Hadath, March 9, 2017).
  • Reactions from senior Palestinian figures and various organizations included the following:
  • The Palestinian foreign ministry issued a condemnation, saying that the law was part of a series of "racist measures" taken by the Israeli regime in an attempt to strengthen its policy of racist separation in support of the idea of one state. It called on the international community and UN agencies to intervene urgently to stop the law from being passed and to ensure freedom of worship (majal.press, March 9, 2017).
  • Yusuf Id'is, the PA minister of endowments, condemned the proposed law, calling it "racist and passing from the political dimension to the religious dimension, threatening to ignite a religious war because it violates freedom of worship." He claimed the law was extremist and racist, biased against followers of the religion of Islam in Jerusalem, and turned Jerusalem, the city of all religions, into a city that was "racist, Zionist and extremist" (Ma'an, March 8, 2017).
  • Mahmoud al-Habash, Mahmoud Abbas' advisor for religious affairs and supreme cadi, called the law "a new crime of Israel." He called on the Islamic nation and the Palestinian people to oppose the "plot," saying that "it is our right to resist, to popular resistance, to peaceful resistance." He emphasized that while Islam was the religion of tolerance, they would not permit Israel to make the conflict religious or harm the mosques (YouTube, March 11, 2017).

Left: Mahmoud Abbas listens to Mahmoud al-Habash' sermon. Right: Mahmoud al-Habash delivers the Friday sermon at the Muqata'a in Ramallah (YouTube, March 11, 2017).
Left: Mahmoud Abbas listens to Mahmoud al-Habash' sermon. Right: Mahmoud al-Habash delivers the Friday sermon at the Muqata'a in Ramallah (YouTube, March 11, 2017).

  • Ismail Haniyeh gave a speech in which he said that the decision of the Israeli occupation to prevent prayers in mosques in Israel and in Jerusalem would fail and that the residents would not implement it. He said a continuation of attacks on the holy sites of Islam would lead to an eruption and that "confirmation of the first readings of the law would be the first stage in the annihilation of the occupation" (Hamas website and Gaza al-A'an, March 10, 2017)
  • The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) organized a protest rally in Gaza City, attended by senior figures in the organization. Senior PIJ figure Ahmed al-Mudallal gave a speech in which he said that Israel would not be able to implement the law because it was an attack on the free will of the Palestinian people. He appealed to the PA and demanded it end its security coordination with Israel (Safa, March 9, 2017).

Left: Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha about the danger inherent in Israel's muezzin law. The Arabic reads, "They will not silence the minarets of the muezzin...Allahu akbar" (alresala.net, March 13, 2017). Upper right: Ahmed al-Mudallal at a PIJ demonstration in Gaza (PIJ in Gaza website, March 9, 2017). Lower right: Hamas protest rally (al-Aqsa Radio website, March 10, 2017).
Left: Cartoon by Hamas-affiliated Omaya Joha about the danger inherent in Israel's muezzin law. The Arabic reads, "They will not silence the minarets of the muezzin...Allahu akbar" (alresala.net, March 13, 2017). Upper right: Ahmed al-Mudallal at a PIJ demonstration in Gaza (PIJ in Gaza website, March 9, 2017). Lower right: Hamas protest rally (al-Aqsa Radio website, March 10, 2017).

PA Security Forces Suppress Anti-PA Demonstrations
  • Palestinians in the Ramallah and Bethlehem regions held violent anti-PA protests demanding the return of the body of Basel al-A'raj, a terrorist who was killed by the Israeli security forces on March 6, 2017. The demonstrators also protested against the trial currently being held in a PA court for the other operatives of the terrorist squad headed by al-A'araj. During the riots Palestinians clashed with the PA security forces, and 23 people were wounded. PA security force operatives detained Khader Adnan, a senior PIJ figure, who they claimed attacked them during a demonstration in al-Bireh (Palinfo and Safa, March 12, 2017).
  • The violent suppression of the demonstration and the detention of activists by the PA security forces led to serious public criticism against the PA. Hundreds of demonstrators held a rally in the center of Ramallah to protest the conduct of the PA and its security forces. The demonstrators called for the overthrow of the PA and the regime of its security forces, and for Mahmoud Abbas to be tried in a court of law (al-Aqsa, March 13, 2017).
The Glorification of Female Terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi
  • On March 12, 2017, the PA held a formal ceremony to mark the 39th anniversary of the death of Dalal al-Mughrabi, a female terrorist who participated in the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978 in which a squad of Fatah terrorists killed 35 Israelis, 12 of them children, and wounded 71. Dalal al-Mughrabi has since been turned into a national heroine commemorated by the PA in various ways. The ceremony was attended by senior PA and Fatah figures. Abbas Zaki, a member of Fatah's Central Committee, gave a speech praising the attack, claiming it was a step up in the quality of military attacks against Israel. He also mentioned Abu Jihad as having planned the attack (karamapress.com, March 12, 2017). On March 12, 2017, Mahmoud al-Alul, deputy chairman of Fatah, participated in a ceremony at the al-Taa'ush ("coexistence") youth camp in Nablus to commemorate Palestinian terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi[3] (official Facebook page of Fatah, March 12, 2017).

Left: Mahmoud al-Alul (fourth from right) attends a memorial ceremony held at the al-Taa'ush ("coexistence") youth camp in Nablus for Palestinian terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi (official Facebook page of Fatah, March 12, 2017). Right: Abbas Zaki delivers a memorial speech for Dalal Mughrabi (Facebook page of Abbas Zaki, March 12, 2017)
Left: Mahmoud al-Alul (fourth from right) attends a memorial ceremony held at the al-Taa'ush ("coexistence") youth camp in Nablus for Palestinian terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi (official Facebook page of Fatah, March 12, 2017). Right: Abbas Zaki delivers a memorial speech for Dalal Mughrabi (Facebook page of Abbas Zaki, March 12, 2017)

[1]A significant attack is defined by the ITIC as involving shooting, stabbing, a vehicle, the use of IEDs, or a combination of the above. Stones and Molotov cocktails thrown by Palestinians are not included.
[2]The statistics do not include mortar shell fire or rockets which misfired and fell inside the Gaza Strip.
[3]For information about senior Hamas figures employed by UNRWA see the February 23, 2017 bulletin, "Dr. Suhail al-Hindi, Chairman of the UNRWA Staff Union in the Gaza Strip and Boys' Elementary School Principal, Is Elected to Hamas' New Gaza Political Bureau," and the March 5, 2017 bulletin, "Muhammad al-Jamassi, senior engineer in UNRWA's engineering department in the Gaza Strip, was also identified as a newly elected member of Hamas' political bureau."
[4]The 
al-Taa'ush camps are paramilitary camps operated for Palestinian youth under the aegis of the Palestinian national security forces. 

The 7th Fatah Movement Conference Again Legitimizes Popular Terrorism (The So-Called “Peaceful Popular Resistance”)

Mahmoud Abbas opens the 7th Fatah Movement conference in Ramallah (Wafa, November 30, 2016).
Mahmoud Abbas opens the 7th Fatah Movement conference in Ramallah (Wafa, November 30, 2016).

Overview
1.   The 7th Fatah Movement conference held in Ramallah between November 29 and December 4, 2016 dealt mostly with internal Palestinian issues, with the struggle for Mahmoud Abbas' successor in the background. It also discussed strategies for dealing with Israel on the ground and in the international arena. The speeches given by Mahmoud Abbas and statements made by senior Fatah figures indicated the conference's decision to strengthen the concept of "popular resistance"(decided on at the 6th Fatah Movement conference in August 2009). The concept "popular resistance" is represented as legal, unarmed and peaceful. However, developments on the ground since the 6th conference indicate that behind the term "peaceful popular resistance" hides support given by Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to popular terrorism, which again erupted violently in September 2015 and has since also entered Israeli territory.


 

2.   What is the nature of the "popular resistance" adopted by the 6th Fatah Movement conference and again confirmed by the 7th conference?

a.       The so-called "popular resistance"has been the main course of Palestinian action on the ground since 2009. It is combined with the political, economic, propaganda and legal campaign waged against Israel by the PA. As far as Fatah and the PA are concerned, the "popular resistance" creates constant monitored, controlled tension between Israel and the Palestinians, used to exert pressure on Israelto the degree considered appropriate for the needs of the PA's political campaign against Israel. In the internal Palestinian arena, however, the PA and Fatah use the "popular resistance" as an acceptable alternative to Hamas' concept of "armed struggle," which the PA and Fatah do not regard as useful at the present stage of the Palestinians' anti-Israeli struggle (although Fatah does not reject it in principle).

b.       The "popular resistance" is not a non-violent quiet protest, as claimed by the Mahmoud Abbas and the PA.[1] It makes massive use of violence, especially the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails, as well as stabbing and vehicular attacks. The use of cold weapons against Israeli security forces and civilians has been the major form of anti-Israel violence in Judea and Samaria, but occasionally there are military-type attacks involving firearms (attacks which the PA also does not condemn). During the past year the "popular resistance," which Israel refers to as popular terrorism, has caused the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians and members of the Israeli security forces.[2]

c.       The PA and Fatah publicly support attacks carried out as part of the "popular resistance" and do not consider them terrorism. They actively legitimize and aid Palestinians who carry them out by providing them with financial and media support(as well as providing aid for Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and the families of martyrs). In the international arena as well, the PA fully legitimizes the "popular resistance," attempting to blur and minimize its extensive use of violence. The PA does not consider "popular resistance" attacks, even the most deadly, as terrorism, a term is reserves for Israel and the settlers. Speaking at the 7th Fatah Movement conference, Mahmoud Abbas rejected terrorism "regardless of motive or source," including state terrorism (i.e., so-called "Israeli terrorism") and that of the Israeli settlers, claiming that "We adhere to a culture of peace and tolerance" (Palestinian TV, November 29, 2016).

Examples of Fatah Support for Popular Terrorism

Fatah notice calling on Palestinians to stab Israelis in Jerusalem (Twitter account of Fatah's office for recruitment and organization, October 4, 2015)
Fatah notice calling on Palestinians to stab Israelis in Jerusalem (Twitter account of Fatah's office for recruitment and organization, October 4, 2015)

Facebook page of the Shabiba (Fatah's student faction) at al-Najah University in Nablus, November 6, 2014, after a fatal vehicular attack in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem. The Arabic reads, "Resist, even with your car" (Facebook page of the Shabiba faction at al-Najah University, November 6, 2014).
Facebook page of the Shabiba (Fatah's student faction) at al-Najah University in Nablus, November 6, 2014, after a fatal vehicular attack in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem. The Arabic reads, "Resist, even with your car" (Facebook page of the Shabiba faction at al-Najah University, November 6, 2014).

Left: The death notice issued by Fatah for "heroic shaheed" Muhammad Sayid Muhammad Ali. Pictures of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat are at the upper left and right, respectively (Fatah-affiliated Facebook page, October 10, 32015). Right: Muhammad Sayid Muhammad Ali, a Palestinian terrorist operative from the Shuafat refugee camp, stabs an Israeli Border Policeman at the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem (Facebook page of QudsN, October 13, 2015).
Left: The death notice issued by Fatah for "heroic shaheed" Muhammad Sayid Muhammad Ali. Pictures of Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat are at the upper left and right, respectively (Fatah-affiliated Facebook page, October 10, 32015). Right: Muhammad Sayid Muhammad Ali, a Palestinian terrorist operative from the Shuafat refugee camp, stabs an Israeli Border Policeman at the Nablus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem (Facebook page of QudsN, October 13, 2015).

The PA holds a military-type governmental funeral for Palestinian terrorist Ibrahim Samir Ibrahim Sakafi, 22, who carried out a vehicular attack near Halhul. His body is carried on the shoulders of operatives of the Palestinian national security forces (Wafa, November 5, 2013).
The PA holds a military-type governmental funeral for Palestinian terrorist Ibrahim Samir Ibrahim Sakafi, 22, who carried out a vehicular attack near Halhul. His body is carried on the shoulders of operatives of the Palestinian national security forces (Wafa, November 5, 2013).

3.   On the other hand, the PA objects to the use of firearms and to turning the "popular resistance" into a military-type intifada against Israel, as advocated by Hamas. The PA and its security forces enforce that positionon Hamasand the other terrorist organizations with ongoing preventive activities and security cooperation with the Israeli security forces(despite harsh criticism from Hamas). In principle, however, Fatah does not rule out the concept of "armed struggle." According to the platform of the 6th Fatah conference in August 2009, the concept of "armed struggle" remains a possible future option, to be put into practice when the political and societal conditions of the conflict with Israel make it necessary. That can be seen in Fatah and the PA's preservation of the legacy and symbols of the "armed struggle" against Israel by commemorating shaheeds (of all the terrorist organizations) killed while carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel.

Preserving the Legacy of the Armed Struggle

Left: Dedicating the Dalal al-Magribi square in al-Bireh. Al-Magribi was a member of the Fatah terrorist squad that carried out the massacre on the Coastal Road between Tel Aviv and Haifa in March 1978 (35 murdered, 13 of them children, and 71 wounded). After her death she won great admiration and became a role model for Palestinians. Holding the banner in the center and wearing a white suit is Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a senior Fatah figure (al-Quds, March 11, 2010). Right: The sign on Yahya Ayyash street in Ramallah (Photo courtesy of Israel Channel 10 TV, April 7, 2010). Yahya Ayyash, aka "the engineer," was a senior Hamas terrorist operative who was responsible for a series of deadly suicide bombing attacks throughout Israel whose objective was to sabotage the Oslo Accords. The Palestinian presidential building lies on the street named for him.
Left: Dedicating the Dalal al-Magribi square in al-Bireh. Al-Magribi was a member of the Fatah terrorist squad that carried out the massacre on the Coastal Road between Tel Aviv and Haifa in March 1978 (35 murdered, 13 of them children, and 71 wounded). After her death she won great admiration and became a role model for Palestinians. Holding the banner in the center and wearing a white suit is Tawfiq al-Tirawi, a senior Fatah figure (al-Quds, March 11, 2010). Right: The sign on Yahya Ayyash street in Ramallah (Photo courtesy of Israel Channel 10 TV, April 7, 2010). Yahya Ayyash, aka "the engineer," was a senior Hamas terrorist operative who was responsible for a series of deadly suicide bombing attacks throughout Israel whose objective was to sabotage the Oslo Accords. The Palestinian presidential building lies on the street named for him.

4.   In the wake of the 7th Fatah Movement conference Mahmoud Abbas, the PA and Fatah can be expected to continue their support of violence carried out as part of the "popular resistance."They will continue to providefinancial support and media backup for the Palestinians who carry out popular terrorism attacks, while avowedly objecting to the military-type terrorism favored by Hamas. At the same time, in the international arena the PA will blur and minimize its support for violence and terrorism, and continue to spout deceptive slogans about its "peaceful popular resistance" against Israel.

 

5.   Two appendices follow:

a. Statements by Mahmoud Abbas and senior Fatah figures during and after the 7th Fatah Movement conference regarding the "popular resistance"

b. Adopting the concept of "popular resistance" at the 6th Fatah Movement conference and its implementation during the past seven years.

[1] In October 2015, at the height of the most recent wave of popular Palestinian terrorism, Mahmoud Abbas still falsely represented the "popular resistance" as non-violent. For example, at the opening ceremony of a contracting company in Ramallah, he said that "We do not use violence or force. We believe in peace and a "popular resistance." It is our right and obligation to continue it as long as there is aggression. We do not attack anyone and do not want anyone to attack us...We hold the hands of our brothers who defend al-Aqsa mosque...We want peace and our hand is always extended to peace despite our suffering..." (Wafa, October 8, 2015). On October 14, 2015, he gave a speech in which he said the Palestinians would continue their "legal popular struggle, which focuses on the Palestinians' right to self defense based on popular, non-violent foundations" (Palestinian TV, October 14, 2015).
[2] For further information, see the October 15, 2015 bulletin, "The Fatal Results of Palestinian Popular Terrorism: Analysis of Israeli deaths during the six years of the ""popular resistance"" strategy, what the Palestinian Authority calls "peaceful resistance," at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/Data/articles/Art_20887/E_172_15_566924182.pdf.